Moved to watch some great, perhaps little-known or forgotten, films? Take solid steps toward a quintet of new releases from Film Movement, the distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films. The Blu-ray and DVD editions include bonus tracks. We introduce the five flicks in alphabetical order.
“Amour Fou” (2014) which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, was inspired by the real-life double suicide of renowned German author Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel in 1811. In many ways, it’s as much a period piece as a darkly humorous postmodern take on love, life, and death. Desperately melancholy poet Heinrich is in search of a woman to join him in a suicide pact. Met by constant refusals, he finally finds a willing participant in well-to-do Henriette who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The resultant negotiation between the pair degenerates into a wry comedy of manners. Spring-boarding off the actual events, auteur Jessica Hausner deconstructs traditional notions of romance while offering a layered chamber piece that is at once ironic and uniquely profound.
“Full Moon in Paris” (1984)
Heralded as a “masterpiece” by “The New York Times”, Eric Rohmer’s “Full Moon in Paris” tells the story of Louise (portrayed by Pascale Ogier), a young interior designer bored with her existence in the sleepy suburbs with her architect boyfriend Remi (Tchéky Karyo). Eager to lead the life of an independent socialite in the city, Louise arranges to move back to her Paris apartment during the week. Further complicating matters are her best friend, Octave (Fabrice Luchini), who makes plain his interest in her, and a bad boy musician who catches her eye at a party. Eventually, even the sophisticated and aloof Louise cannot untangle herself from the emotional realities of her romantic encounters.
Based on true events, “Marie’s Story” (2014) recounts the inspiring life of a young girl born deaf and blind—played admirably by newcomer Ariana Rivoire, who herself was born deaf—and the courageous journey of the nun (Isabelle Carré) who helps her learn to communicate with the world around her. At the turn of the 19th century, a humble artisan and his wife send Marie, their deaf and blind fourteen year-old daughter, to the Larnay Institute in central France where an order of Catholic nuns manage a school for the deaf. There, the idealistic Sister Marguerite sees in Marie a unique potential and vows to bring the wild girl out of the darkness.
Called “thrilling to watch at every moment” and of virtue and mistaken identity in “The Marquise of O” (1976), the 1976 Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner. Set in 1799 during the Russian invasion of Italy, a young widow, The Marquise (Edith Clever), lives with her parents in the fort her father commands. In the midst of battle, the Marquise is abducted by a group of rowdy soldiers and is nearly raped before the Russian commander Count F (Bruno Ganz) rescues her. Later, after she realizes she is pregnant, the Marquise pens a letter to the newspaper announcing she will marry the father, if only he presents himself.
Told in 14 fixed-angle, single-shot, individual tableaux that parallel Christ’s journey to his own crucifixion, “Stations of the Cross” (2014) is both an indictment of fundamentalist faith and the articulation of an impressionable teen’s struggle to find her own path in life. Though from the outside Maria (stunningly portrayed by Lea van Acken) lives in the modern world, her family and her heart are faithful to a Catholic radicalism that requires sacrifice and devotion at every turn. As she struggles to balance her own desires with the dictates of her family’s faith, she makes ever more perilous sacrifices, attempting to please a God she worships unquestioningly in the pious hopes of curing the autistic younger brother she adores.